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M25 Motorway

Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is his latest estimate of the date of the completion of construction and opening of the last link of the M25 London orbital motorway.

The last contract, for the length from the A405 to the A6, is due for completion in November 1986.

If there is no slippage in the timetable for the completion of London's orbital motorway, my hon. Friend will know that fate, if not, her Department has decreed that the last link to be completed will be near to my constituency and deeply affect my constituents. In view of the undoubted and exceptional congestion that will take place on the roads in that area during that period, may I have my hon. Friend's assurance that there will be personal monitoring at ministerial level of the congestion of those roads so that exceptional and temporary traffic management schemes can be introduced if necessary?

My hon. Friend may not be aware that last month I did a tour with the Hertfordshire police of the A405, the M25, the A1, the Al(M) and the new section that is being built. I have discussed traffic control and traffic signing with the police and my traffic engineers. I can assure my hon. Friend that we will check the matter regularly and, in particular, when the junction 8 works on the M1 have to take place for up to a fortnight at the beginning of July. I shall keep in touch with ny hon. Friend and with the travelling public through the media about those works.

As the Minister's Department will be able to "trunk" roads in London without a public inquiry, will the hon. Lady tell the House what motorway-style improvements are planned for London? Will she tell us something about the future of the west cross route?

First, let me make it clear for the umpteenth time that there are no proposals for motorway building in London. Secondly, the assessment studies currently being carried out, which include the possibility of a west cross route along the line of the railway, are not complete. Thorough consultations have been carried out and comments are still being received by the consultants. When I can make a statement about that, I shall do so. For the present, the hon. Gentleman knows, as well as I do, that there is a finite date by which the ownership of a limited 65 miles of road will be transferred. It means no more "trunking" than the transfer of ownership to my Department.

Is my hon. Friend aware that, before its completion, the M25 has become a dangerous race track, in particular during the rush hour? What consultations has she had with the Home Secretary about the necessity for adequate policing of that motorway? Are the present resources being used less than those advocated by the chief constables involved?

My right hon. Friend is right about the standard of driving on some sections not just of the M25 but of other roads. Unfortunately, because people tend to use the M25 for short runs only, they do not adjust to motorway driving as quickly as they should. I have already had meetings with the chief constables of the home counties and with my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Home Office about adequate policing. I am in correspondence with them to ensure that there is adequate enforcement on the motorway.